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Ocasio-Cortez, Markey roll out Green New Deal plan to address climate change

The goals include achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years and attacking income inequality.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) and Sen. Ed Markey

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announce their Green New Deal legislation in Washington on Thursday. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Saul Loeb

WASHINGTON — A sweeping “Green New Deal” to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years and attack income inequality was unveiled Thursday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey in their bid to build national support for their cause.

The ambitious goals of the resolution include use of “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” for all power demands while creating thousands of new jobs, clean air and water, high-quality health care, affordable housing and economic security for all.

While the resolution has drawn support from several Democrats, it faces hurdles in both the House and the Senate, spurring skepticism on the left and right and opposition from many Republicans. President Donald Trump has called man-made climate change a “hoax.”

“Today is the day that we truly embark on a comprehensive agenda of economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America. That’s what this agenda is all about,” said Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic congresswoman representing parts of the Bronx and Queens.

Ocasio-Cortez and Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said at a news conference that the resolution they are introducing only begins to define the Green New Deal, intended as a first step toward building public support and creating more specific and detailed legislation.

“Today we are putting forward a set of principles — not prescriptions — that will require leveraging new financing, providing new resources, and training and using existing laws and new regulations to meet our 10-year goal,” said Markey.

The resolution places no price tag on the ambitious undertaking, but a fact sheet said it would be financed the “way we paid” for the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 2008 bank bailout and “for World War II and all our current wars.”

The Green New Deal has drawn 60 co-sponsors, including the support of liberal senators aspiring to become the Democratic presidential candidate: Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) criticized the deal as a “five-year Soviet plan” and the Green Party criticized it for not totally phasing out fossil fuels.

The deal also has been downplayed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said she made climate change her main issue when she first became House speaker in 2007.

Pelosi, speaking to Politico, this week said, “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” adding, “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”

A Democratic leadership aide said, “The bill, given that it’s only a House Resolution, is unlikely to move in its current form, but some of the ideas it contains could move as part of legislation to address the climate crisis.”

Before the rollout of the New Green Deal Thursday, Pelosi also announced her appointment of Democrats to serve on the new Select Committee to the Climate Crisis — omitting Ocasio-Cortez, who had urged Pelosi to create a more powerful version of the panel.

And in her weekly meeting with reporters, Pelosi replied to a question about the New Green Deal by saying, “Quite frankly I haven’t seen it.”

But Pelosi added, “We welcome the enthusiasm that is there,” and added, “I welcome the Green New Deal and any other proposals that people have out there.”

At her news conference, Ocasio-Cortez she said her omission from the climate crisis committee “was not a snub,” because, she said, she had been asked to be a member but had declined.

And Ocasio-Cortez said she wasn’t offended by Pelosi’s comment to Politico.

“I think it is a green dream,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “All great American programs started with a vision for our future.”

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